DALLAS -- John Connally rejected the position of energy secretary in Ronald Reagan's cabinet because of his law practice and 'personal requirements,' according to Texas Gov. Bill Clements.
Connally, former Texas governor, Treasury secretary under Richard Nixon and Navy secretary under John Kennedy, reportedly was only interested in secretary of state or defense in the new administration, but according to Clements all he was offered was the Energy Department -- which Reagan wants dismantled eventually.
'I wish that he had (taken the position),' Clements told the Dallas Times Herald editorial board Tuesday. 'I did everything I could to persuade him. I wasn't a powerful enough persuader.'
Reagan Monday nominated James Edwards, former governor of South Carolina, to the energy post.
'He was asked to be secretary of energy and he felt that under the circumstances of his law practice and the things he was committed to do in the law firm of Vinson, Elkins and in his own personal requirements, that he couldn't do that,' Clements said.
Although Reagan's cabinet includes no one from the Southwest, Clements said the region still was well represented within the administration.
'I think the representation we have from Texas in George Bush as the vice president and Jim Baker as the (White House) chief of staff ... gives us a very fine representation,' he said.